Getting Fit Without the Gym: Alternative Options to Explore Now

Get in shape with zumba
Get active with zumba class. Dancing is a fun exercise alternative to the gym. Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Do you dread going to the gym? Does the thought of being surrounded by buff bodies wrapped in Lycra fill you with apprehension? There’s an assumption that you have to be a gym bunny to get fit, but that’s simply not the case. While many people love working up a sweat at the gym, it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather be alone, you’re keen to explore al fresco activities, or you find the gym boring, here are some alternatives to consider.


Bootcamps and military fitness classes have become incredibly popular in the last few years. The idea of being shouted and screamed at may not seem all that fun, but this is a great option if you want to push yourself and you lack motivation. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t run the extra mile or aim to lift a PB (personal best) every time, this could be the option for you. When you’ve got a trainer spurring you on, you can learn a lot about your character, and you can push yourself much harder than you would in a normal gym session. Bootcamps are also great if you want rapid results or you prefer to workout outdoors or as part of a group. If you find the concept intimidating, but you want to give it a go, take some friends along with you for moral support.

Outdoor bootcamp class
Bootcamps and fitness classes are popular with people who don’t want to go to the gym or as a gym alternative. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.


You may associate golf with older people, but it’s actually become a trendier pursuit in recent years thanks to the successes of young professionals. Even if you don’t have visions of packing a cabinet full of golf trophies, it may be worth booking some lessons and seeing how you get on. Golf may not give you the most intense cardio workout, but it’s a sociable sport, you can enjoy the great outdoors, and you’ll walk miles over the course of a few rounds.

Golf is her favorite sport
Golf has many benefits, including plenty of walking and time spent outdoors. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.


Do you love to dance on a Saturday night? Are you the first on the dance floor and the last to leave? If so, why not take some dance-based exercise classes, which will enable you to get fit and have fun at the same time. You can choose from a range of styles, such as Latin, ballroom, ballet or Zumba, or try a bit of everything.

Get in shape with zumba
Get active with zumba class. Dancing is a fun exercise alternative to the gym. Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.


It’s summer, and what better way to get in shape than exercising in the fresh air and enjoying the company of others? Tennis is a fast-paced, exciting sport, which works every major muscle group. You’ll need stamina to go the distance and speed to cover the court. If you’re keen to get on the court, have a look online for local clubs and facilities.

She chooses tennis instead of the gym
Yawning when you think of the gym? Try tennis instead. It may be the perfect sport for you! Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

Are you bored of the gym or are you too scared to even walk through the door, let alone get on the machines? If you’re not a fan of the gym, you don’t have to give up on your plans to get fit and shape up. There are myriad other activities you can try. Hopefully, these suggestions have got you thinking, and you’ll find a new sport you love in no time.


  1. Hi Christy!
    I really enjoyed this post because I am definitely one of those ladies who will probably never be a gym bunny. I have just never felt really comfortable in that setting unless there was a dance class in a studio.
    It’s great to see that there are other ways to get fit that don’t involve going to the gym!

    <3 Alana

  2. This is good information. Joining a class definitely builds momentum, and pushes you to go further. I find things I love to motivate me to workout such as, spinning, jazzercise, and walk/running intervals. I focus on how much better, and more energized I feel instead of becoming overly fixated on the results to stay committed. I think of physical activity as an important part of everyday life, versus a means to and end and this helps me to remain consistent.

  3. You need to include some weight bearing exercises into your fitness program. There are ways to do this without going to the gym, but this is a must; not an option.

  4. If the only way to exercise was by going to a gym-I’d be very out of shape. I have found a dance class that I attend 2 to 3 times a week that gives me more exercise than anything else I’ve ever done, including the times I was a runner as well as a tennis player. Dancing and walking and yoga make me feel like a fit woman! Such a great post, Christy.

  5. You know I love really long walks. It’s the only exercise I truly enjoy. Long walks bear great results. While walking, when I walk past windows, I check to see if I have remembered my posture. After about 15 minutes, I feel my core muscles kicking in.
    Picking up groceries on the way home adds some weight bearing, & and I have little barbells at home, which I am guilty of conveniently forgetting exist.
    Thanks for the reminder, and I am going to look up some core muscle exercises when I leave here.
    Boot Camp? The only Boot Camp I’m going to, possibly, is one where they teach the craft of making boots! LOL!

  6. Amazing post about fitness. I use a Fitbit to help me but I wish I had read this article before I had one. Great advice 💗💗💗

  7. I have been doing a lot more walking than what I used to do, albeit it has fallen a little by the wayside over the past few weeks, I will pick it up again at some point, it did a lot of good for me. Did used to swim twice a week but cut this due to my current circumstances, made me feel good at the time, and yes I do miss it. Now, here is another thought or a few for you, what about the one’s I would class as ‘natural exercise’, “getting fit without the gym”, as in, keep moving during every day tasks, make exercise work alongside, fit naturally with your daily activities? gardening – natural growth, exercise (connection between this blog and your recycling one), keeping moving as a family or with friends, encourage ‘play’, outdoor ‘play’, ‘activities’ examples, friends playing football, netball, rounders, hockey, volleyball, cross country running, tag (cannot remember how that one was played), some of my childhood favourites. Putting a ‘business’ slant to it, don’t IM someone, don’t pick up the phone, don’t send an email, don’t fill in one of those ahhhhh I hate saying this database fields, get off one’s butt, walk, go and talk to a person, integrate routine exercise with your day 🙂

    • These are all wonderful suggestions for being active and also making the most of the day (they often go hand in hand) 🙂 There are so many options. There’s also parking farther away from the store than you normally would to get in a few extra steps. I hope you get back to swimming soon as it sounds like it was quite enjoyable for you. Wishing you a nice weekend!

      • Yes there are, much forgotten, disregarded options but think people are more attracted to ‘the status’ of something now rather than the practicalities of something these days. I did enjoy swimming albeit not at first. Thought I would be able to do 20 lengths no problem. Ha needed to think again. I did do them but not as easily as I thought, after which exited the pool via the deep end steps, full of the wobbles, nearly fell back in haha but, hey I persevered, setting myself wee targets each time I went. If I remember correct I was at 55 lengths in around 40-50 minutes, depending upon how busy the pool was.

    • Cool about your belly-dancing past! It’s a good point you make that we have to alter the exercises as we age and that weights are an important part of a fitness routine. Thanks Les for participating in the conversation xx

  8. YES to the dancing. I have to add TRY PARTNERSHIP DANCING. It is a romantic, fun way to get into shape with your spouse. Nothing burns calories quite like the swing or two-step!

  9. I wish I could do these in my recliner with my laptop. Ha ha. Great options, Christy. I’ve found that I can read on my elliptical and I can get the legs moving and heart pumping enjoyably. 🙂

  10. Great tips here, I personally love to play netball…It helps to motivate you when you have a team of girls who you don’t want to let down by not turning up!

  11. Riding a bicycle is as simple as it gets. No need to
    re-invent the wheel. Get on a bike, take a 20 minute
    bike ride & breath in some fresh air. Fitness 101.

    It blows my mind that people actually pay for a gym
    membership to sit in a spin class? Not to mention
    how unhygienic it is using equipment that hundreds
    of people are coming into contact with. No thank you

    • I actually like spin class 🙂 It’s the motivation of the teacher that resonates with me – and pushes me to the next level in my workouts. The bikes are cleaned at the end of each workout with disinfectant. And I wash my hands upon getting home. To each their own 🙂 Stay fit, be happy xx

      • Very true, but today there is MRSA, resistant
        bacteria. I am always shocked seeing people
        in hospital scrubs going straight to the gym
        after work it creeps me out thoroughly.

        My mother did her nursing & midwifery training in the UK, & she always told me that their facilities had ON SITE laundry, so no contaminated clothing EVER left the hospital.

        In the US it is a very different story indeed.

        • Eeek wearing scrubs to the gym –>> I just got the shivers.. Noooo! Thanks for the heads up as really I want to be healthy and happy.. Taking your points under consideration, my friend. Your comments are thoughtful and I appreciate them.

  12. Love all of these! I talk to so many people who absolutely HATE the idea of working out; they have this idea in their head that exercise = instense, sweaty, pain. I firmly believe that there is a type of exercise out there to fit every lifestyle/personality. I recently shared some of my personal tips that I use to look and feel my best. I am hoping they can help anyone who despises the word “diet” or dreads a work out 🙂

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